Today, I feel like a failure.
It came on gradually this afternoon, and yet sudden at once. Which I realize doesn’t make sense. But it does to me.
I could probably figure out what I’m feeling and what I’m thinking and why.
But quite honestly? I just don’t want to. I know that generally stuffing it down means it boils later. But, not always. And right now I don’t have the energy to really care. So, stuffed down it goes.
To be continued.
Paintbrush, author unknown
I keep my paint brush with me
Wherever I may go,
In case I need to cover up
So the real me doesn’t show.
I’m so afraid to show you me,
Afraid of what you’ll do – that
You might laugh or say mean things.
I’m afraid I might lose you.
I’d like to remove all my paint coats
To show you the real, true me,
But I want you to try and understand,
I need you to accept what you see.
So if you’ll be patient and close your eyes,
I’ll strip off all my coats real slow.
Please understand how much it hurts
To let the real me show.
Now my coats are all stripped off.
I feel naked, bare and cold,
And if you still love Me with all that you see,
You are my friend, pure as gold.
I need to save my paint brush, though,
And hold it in my hand,
I want to keep it handy
In case somebody doesn’t understand.
So please protect me, my dear friend
And thanks for loving me true,
But please let me keep my paint brush with me
Until I love me, too.
It’s very strange to me that I have this blog and nobody knows about it. I have never, EVER done that. If I’m being honest with myself, I will say that in the past, especially in high school and college, I wrote specifically knowing people would read it. I said what I needed to say, but also said so in a way that guaranteed me what I needed: help, support, attention, etc.
This blog is a test. I didn’t go public with it for two main reasons:
- I didn’t trust that I would be able to keep up with posting regularly, and I know that people tend to only read regular blogs. (And, as it stands, I was correct. Although, not having time-pressure on me to post regularly makes it more fun than a chore)
I wanted to be my true self. And that means not hiding any parts of my personality. And I was scared to do that with everyone knowing it was me, with everyone finding out who the “real me” was all at once. So I decided I needed some practice time.
What I have discovered is that I’m much more ME when I’m writing for me. Nobody reads this blog — my stats generally indicate that — and while part of me wishes that people read it and discovered how brilliant and wise I am (a fantasy, clearly), part of me likes that I don’t have to worry about being judged, ridiculed, talked about, etc. I can say exactly what’s on my mind, exactly how I am feeling, and there’s no shame in it. I don’t have to hide any part of me.
A hugely important realization that I was guided towards is:
When I dread going out, when I don’t want to “be social,” when the thought of being out with friends seems more than I can bear, there is a reason for it. And the reason is: because I am not showing up in my true self. When I show up with my Shadow, with the happy-go-lucky “Hi! Everything is great! How are you?!” I am not being the real me. And that’s exhausting. And quite honestly, I would imagine, unpleasant. I think I’ve done this my entire life, so I don’t even realize when I’m not being the real me.
So I am practicing showing up in my true self, and leaving my Shadow at home. And if that means saying, “I’m doing well — a little down today, not sure why,” that’s okay. I don’t have to have a reason for feeling sad. I don’t have to understand why I’m sad. I don’t have to justify it. To the people who get me, really truly love and get me, it shouldn’t matter.
I’m working on it.
“The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.” ~ Abraham Maslow
I can smell emotions in weather. I go outside each day and the air either smells calm, happy, scary, etc.
Yes, I know this is weird. No, I don’t know why it is.
Maybe it’s a part of my extreme sensitivity and porous-ness. I know that my mom and brother all have some sort of synasthesia/mixing of senses – – seeing colors for days, 3D visual representations of dates and calendars in our brains, etc.
But then, there’s this for me. I usually don’t say a word, but sometimes it slips out: “Do you smell that air, it smells SO calm!” and then…cue the weird look, and the “Um…I didn’t know air smelled like emotions.”
It was a wonderful summer. The kids had a great time, the staff enjoyed themselves, and I loved (almost) every moment. There is something so unique to camp. Working outside, breathing in fresh air for 8 hours a day. Seeing the kids swim and boat and do arts and crafts but also teaching them interpersonal, social thinking skills to make changes and last a lifetime. For a seven week program, we do some pretty great work with them. Today was our last day. I had been dreading this for about two weeks now. The anticipation is what is so hard for me — knowing each moment is the “last” of something. Despite the heartwrenching tears I cried after the last car pulled away, I’m glad it’s finally done so I don’t have to anticipate goodbye anymore.
If it’s this hard for me, and I am (relatively) neurotypical, I cannot even begin to imagine what this is like for our campers. Their sensitivities, fears, rigidity that come with their autism and their souls are magnified during the last two weeks. Meltdowns are frequent, behaviors regress. I can’t imagine what it’s like. For seven weeks, they spent their days safe, loved, nurtured, helped, guided, and most importantly, around adults who cared and around kids who were like them. It’s a safety-zone for them. A safe haven. And then they realize: not only is camp over, but SCHOOL is starting. For many of them, school is a place where they’re bullied. Left out. Anxious and depressed. Fall behind. Left alone.
I pick up on all of their energies, their fears and worries and dreads. I’ve felt it all the past two weeks — I am porous and permeable like they are, and I have felt it. And oh, it hurts.